How To Grow Tropicals In Cold Climates

Pot-In-Pot Method.
We are located in zone 8a where zone 10 tropical fruits are only a greenhouse thing. We now often use this pot in pot method to shake-up the landscape with palms, bamboo and flowering tropicals.
This is the way we do it and it only takes a few hours! Remember, when winter comes all you have to do is lift your pots out of the ground and store them in a heated garage for the winter, then drop them back in their holes in the spring.

bg_image

Getting Started
Fortunately one of our neighbors had a new tractor with an auger bit. We suggest if your potting more than 5 trees to go ahead and rent or hire someone with a bobcat or a tractor, these 7 holes only took 15 minutes to drill by machine, pretty sure a shovel would have taken longer. 
To get the pots in a straight line we pulled a tape line and marked 6 foot centers with a small block of wood.

bg_image

Align tractor with the row.

bg_image

Align auger and drill away.

bg_image

Check the hole depth.

bg_image

Sleeve pot flush with ground.

bg_image

15 minutes later, holes are drilled.

bg_image

Ready to drop in the sleeve pots.

bg_image

Rake soil until level.

bg_image

Irrigation ditch, dug by shovel.

bg_image

Run your water line.

bg_image

Flip sod back into place.

The Trees
The trees are lined up and ready to plant. For this little area we chose smaller growing tropical fruits trees that produce fruit at an early age. Acerola Cherry, Star Fruit, Papaya, Surinam Cherry and Sundrops Eugenia Victoriana.

bg_image
bg_image

River rocks in the bottom sleeve.

bg_image

Keeps pots from sticking together.

bg_image

Lift carefully.

bg_image

Lower into place.

bg_image

At ground level.

bg_image

In-ground appearance.

bg_image

Irrigation run on top of pots.

bg_image

Irrigation ends are plugged.

bg_image

Two drip irrigation tubes per pot.

bg_image

Eucalyptus is the best choice for mulch.

bg_image

Ten bags of mulch were needed.

bg_image

Trim damaged limbs.

bg_image

The mulch is raked and leveled.

bg_image

Tropical fruit all summer.

Mission Complete.
Total time about 4 hours work with 2 people a tractor and a slacker with a camera.

bg_image

Important
The most important step in growing pot in pot tropicals is to set your irrigation timer properly, as to not over or under water, our timer is set for 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes again in the evening. Be sure to use two dippers per pot just in case one clogs. It is best to use rigid pots for the in-ground sleeve. In the winter you may want to cover the holes with a rigid disc.
Lucky for us we have over 400 mother plants that can be rotated in our pot-in-pot gardens. We often swap to palms and flowering tropicals if the fruit trees have finished for the year.